Monday, March 10, 2008

Zimbabwe News Bulletin: Western Media Acknowledges Mugabe's Popularity; More Agricultural Implements; Vengeful Regime Change Rhetoric

Western media acknowledges President’s popularity

THE Western media has acknowledged President Mugabe continues to enjoy massive support in the rural areas despite the suffering caused by the Western-imposed economic blockade.

AFP reported at the weekend that President Mugabe continues to command a huge following among the rural population despite being isolated by his erstwhile allies from the West and the economic hardships besetting Zimbabwe spawned by the illegal economic sanctions.

Read the report: "Accompanied by a village choir, waving fists and miniature ruling party flags, the crowd of several thousand thunders out four words in a constant refrain: ‘Long Live Comrade Mugabe’.

A poet punctuates his recital with long pauses before chanting a string of praises for the man he credits with ‘getting us back our land, our birthright’ and ‘restoring our dignity’ — President Mugabe.

‘Mugabe is Right’ proclaimed a banner at Mahusekwa where Cde Mugabe held his fourth star rally ahead of joint presidential, legislative, Senate and council polls later this month while another described him as ‘tried and tested’.

President Mugabe has his all-weather supporters in the rural areas," says Joseph Kurebga, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe.

"The ruling party had a close relationship with the rural population during the liberation struggle and the relationship has persisted. The other reason for his popularity is that the President is a gifted orator who has a way of relating with his audience."

When Cde Mugabe travelled to Mahusekwa — a two-hour drive south-east of Harare — last week, the usually sedate service centre was bustling with life as villagers from surrounding areas converged at the venue of the rally.

At a local bar waitresses donned ruling party regalia as they chatted with patrons, most of whom were wearing ruling party T-shirts.

"What unites us is our history, our struggles," President Mugabe told around 7 000 people on a playing field at Mahusekwa Secondary School as the crowd nodded in approval.

"We were slaves in our own country. We were not allowed to vote. We were banned from walking along some streets or shopping in certain stores such as Barbours and Sanders.

"Chiefs were appointed by the minority white regime. The railway line that stretches to Beira was built with forced black labour while our people were driven off their fertile lands to sandy places like Mahusekwa where you live today," he said.

Mr Augustine Timbe, a political analyst, said: "He (Cde Mugabe) has a way of identifying the issues affecting his audiences and showing them the efforts his Government is making to address them despite the stubbornness of the challenges.

"In the end, they can see the genuine intent to address the problems and give him the benefit of doubt."

Despite their hardships, including food shortages and large-scale unemployment, the villagers pledge their loyalty to President Mugabe.

"2008 Elections: Mugabe Alone" read a poster at Mahusekwa while another proclaimed "I vote for the fist". The fist is the ruling party symbol of strength. Cde Mugabe usually waves his when he arrives at a political gathering.

President Mugabe faces a challenge from independent candidate Simba Makoni and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of a faction of the MDC." — AFP-Herald Reporter.

Zim back at work

By Munyaradzi Huni
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

ZIMBABWE’S agricultural sector has been taken to unprecedented levels following the purchase of massive farming implements that include state-of-the-art power generators while transport problems could soon be a thing of the past as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has purchased 300 buses under the National Transport Enhancement Programme.

The farming implements, bought under phase 3 of the farm mechanisation programme and the 300 buses together with 3 120 heifers and bulls that were bought to rebuild the country’s national herd, were commissioned by President Mugabe yesterday in Harare.

The implements included 500 tractors, 20 combine harvesters, 460 ploughs, 470 harrows, 95 planters, 205 boom sprayers, 230 fertiliser spreaders, 10 hay balers, 33 000 animal-drawn scotchcarts, 26 200 animal-drawn cultivators, 1 000 animal-drawn planters, 50 000 animal-drawn ploughs, 60 000 animal-drawn harrows, 3 000 grinding mills, 5 000 generators, 680 motorcycles, 100 000 litres of diesel from the bio-diesel project and 47 000 knapsack chemical sprayers.

In his address at the launch of phase 3 of the farm mechanisation programme being spearheaded by the central bank and the Ministry of Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation, President Mugabe said the machinery clearly showed that "nyika yadzoka, ilizwe ngelethu."

"This third phase of Government’s agricultural sector mechanisation programme, for which we are gathered today, demonstrates yet again our country’s growing capacity in addressing elements that are key to the consolidation of the gains of our land reform programme, itself the gain of our liberation struggle.

"This equipment and implements now form a critical mass that should be deployed effectively so as to meaningfully uplift productivity levels.

"As Government, we will continue to broaden the opportunities available under our land reform programme, which incorporates support in the areas of animal husbandry, poultry, citrus management, flower export development, as well as all-round technical and extension services.

"As we work towards achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Government is attaching greater importance to the national transport system, particularly in the rural areas.

"I am pleased that Government has, in answer to this need, procured a total of 300 buses (40-seater) which will form phase 1 of the national transport enhancement programme. An equal number is on its way," said the President.

He said four buses would be allocated to each district while all provincial and central hospitals would get two buses each.

Mashonaland West, Central, East, Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South, North and Midlands will each get 35 buses while Chitungwiza Hospital will get two buses, Harare Hospital five, Parirenyatwa five, Mpilo Hospital three, United Bulawayo Hospitals three, Gweru two, Mutare two and Masvingo two.

"Only a year ago, what we have seen here today and on two occasions last year, were mere whispers of Government’s planned wish to empower our farmers through mechanisation and implements’ provision.

"Today, those whispers have been replaced by the sound of machinery tilling the land in places far and wide and announcing with an irreversible finality that nyika yadzoka, ilizwe ngelethu, onward soldiers of the agricultural reform.

"When Government embarked on the land reform programme, the dark forces of imperialism sought to strangle our agro-based economy through the spiteful closure of financial loans and grants to us. They tell us that the sanctions are targetted — lies!

"Again the Reserve Bank took heed of Government’s priorities and created tailor-made financial instruments to suit the requirements of our farmers and other productive sectors.

"This hate programme by Britain and her fellow racists imposed unjustified sanctions on Zimbabwe in futile attempts to frighten us off our land. They should remember that we are not that easily scared away. Indeed, they should also remember that we can not desecrate the sacrifices that we paid for this country, not today, never, never ever," said the President.

The President said to cushion farmers against intermittent power outages, the Government, through the RBZ, had embarked on a power generator installation programme whose first phase saw the commissioning of 5 000 generators.

He said the Government had also launched a comprehensive nationwide grinding mill programme that saw the initial launch of 3 000 grinding mills yesterday.

The President called on the relevant arms of Government to intensify the setting up of irrigation schemes so as to utilise the water in the country’s dams.

Said the President: "Because the provision of clean water also stands as a top priority in Government’s developmental programmes, this phase 3 unveils a borehole drilling programme with an initial 10 drilling rigs forming part of the current launch."

He urged Zimbabweans to look into the future and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the mechanisation programme.

"The collectivity of machinery and implements invested by Government on our farms under Phases 1, 2 and 3 should see us greatly reduce the incidence of food shortages in future and, with time, becoming self-sufficient with enough for exports.

"What now remains is for every farmer to roll up their sleeves and till the land for the prosperity of our motherland Zimbabwe, then we would have lived up to the theme of our election campaign," said the President.

Each chief was yesterday allocated a drum of diesel from the bio-diesel project.

The Governor of the RBZ, Dr Gideon Gono, said the distribution of the equipment and the implements was apolitical.

"This programme is not a creation of the RBZ nor of this Governor but is the vision of the President to increase productivity.

"The equipment and the implements will be distributed in a apolitical manner. The only discrimination is that one should have a piece of land and has love to produce for the nation," said Dr Gono, adding that the distribution process would improve following lessons drawn from the first two phases.

Dr Gono took the opportunity to echo the President’s assurance that Zimbabweans would not starve as the Government was importing maize from Zambia, Malawi and South Africa.

He said by Friday last week, the central bank had paid a total of US$15 million for the importation of additional maize while in December last year the bank paid US$28 million for 150 000 tonnes of maize from Zambia. He, however, said due to logistical problems, only 30 000 tonnes has been received so far.

The Governor later requested the ministries of youth, women and the small to medium-scale enterprises to select beneficiaries of the SME Programme that is set to empower youths and women from across the country. Mr Zhaun Amid-Ahmed from Zhauns Group of Companies, which is a household name in SMEs in South Africa, was on hand to explain how his company would be working in partnership with the central bank to boost small business in the country.

The Minister of Agriculture, Cde Rugare Gumbo, later revealed that all the logistical problems to do with maize imports from Zambia had been resolved and maize deliveries should improve in the next few days.

The Minister of Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation, Dr Joseph Made, said the rural areas are set to become the hub of the country’s economic activities.

He said his ministry had established a department to deal with machinery training so that the equipment is used efficiently on the farms.

Promoting women empowerment

Deputy News Editor Phyllis Kachere

NOVEMBER 27 2007 is the day mother of four and communal farmer Mrs Tendai Marere (39) from the Nyamaropa area in Shamva says completely changed her life.

"This is the day I received farming implements from the Government. This is the day that I received a plough plus chain and sprayer for my cotton crop. This is the day my nightmares and worries about how I will till my fields come rains, evaporated. This is the day I stopped being dependent on my in-laws for use of their plough. I can’t describe how I feel now.

"I am a widow and all along I have been dependent on my in-laws for support each time the rains came. But this time, thanks to the Government, I have become capable of tilling my own fields using my own plough. Now look at how healthy my maize, cotton, soya beans, groundnuts crop is and compare that with the lower yields I used to receive before," she said.

This is the day that Government’s Phase Two farm mechanisation initiative became a reality to not only Mrs Marere’s family, but to four other families in Shamva’s Ward 10 Reza village, whose heads became the proud beneficiaries of the programme.

"We are overjoyed with the plough that my daughter-in-law received from Government. This shows we have a Government that listens and cares for its people. Where would she find the billions to buy the plough and the sprayer? She is just a widow. My son is now late. The President must be thanked. Please convey our gratitude to him," chipped in her father-in-law, Sekuru Misheck Marere.

Mrs Marere said the new farming implements she received have removed pressure on her in-laws’ implements, which she also relied on.

"Because of my new implements I have managed to increase my hectarage from my previous. This year I have put four hectares under maize, one hectare under cotton, two hectares for groundnuts, one for soya beans and an acre for roundnuts and sunflower. I have a healthy crop and I am expecting to make more money from my produce. My only worry is the poor price offered by GMB for my maize crop," she said.

She said after being vetted from a pool of 45 other communal farmers who had applied to receive the implements, she feels obliged to work hard and show Government that its effort was not in vain.

"When the programme started, we rushed to submit our names to our village heads and our village ended up with 45 applicants. The names were returned with the advice that they should be reduced to only five deserving farmers per ward.

"The village assembly, which comprises of all members in the village, met and voted. We all agreed the implements would only go to those who have proved their farming capabilities and not chancers. In other wards we heard there was commotion as only village heads and other village officers received the implements. But that was not the case here. We only selected our best farmers," said another villager, Mr Chirezi Mbulawa.

Mrs Marere said she was not surprised when she won as she together with her in-laws are known serious farmers in their area.

"It was good that they rewarded real farmers. Now we have the task of fulfilling Government’s objective of producing food for the whole nation. It’s just that our fields are getting too small for our capacity. I am sure now we qualify for an A2 farm," said Mrs Marere.

She said with her farm produce, she has managed to send her three children to school and no longer depended on her in-laws’ farming implements.

"As a widow, I have relied on my in-laws for financial support for the upkeep of my four boys. But now I tell you, that has completely changed. I can plough on time and look after my family without depending on handouts. Hurumende yadzinga nhamo mumba mangu. (The Government has chased poverty out of my household.) It is a dream come true for an ordinary villager to receive such a plough," said Mrs Marere.

She said she and the other woman who received a similar plough would soon engage in training other women in their ward to become more successful farmers and hopes to start a poultry project with proceeds from the sale of her crops.

Observers have noted that Government’s farm mechanisation programme would help it meet its targets on Millennium Development Goals one and three which commits it to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, and promote gender equality and empower women by 2015.

Vengeful fantasies in regime change rhetoric

AFRICAN FOCUS By Tafataona P. Mahoso
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

THE current imperialist obsession with Zimbabwe’s 2008 elections is the continuation of a long established practice. And the Western and Western-sponsored media in the region are the best exhibitors of the evidence of that obsession.

As Gerald Horne documented in his book "From the Barrel of a Gun: The United States and the War Against Zimbabwe, 1965-1980", white Western media, especially US media, have been escorting and coaching public opinion in Zimbabwe in particular and Southern Africa in general for a long time.

According to Horne: "US mass media and personalities were quite helpful in imparting a sense of [global] whiteness to Rhodesians . . . Bruce Glenn of Southern California hosted a nightly ‘psycho-political show’ on Rhodesian television, which helped to make him an arbiter and shaper of white minority attitudes on race. While Westerns and situation comedies indirectly instructed Rhodesians on socio-political concerns, Glenn did so directly; his presence on the air was an emblem of the importance of the United States to the [white] Rhodesian psyche."

Now, of course, African independence in 1980 and the African land reclamation movement of 1992-2000 have scattered that white Rhodesian psyche throughout the Anglo-Saxon world. The main focus of that Rhodesian and Anglo-Saxon psyche now is the claim that what Zimbabweans claim to be effects of sanctions on the economy are, in fact, the effects of land invasions, corruption and mismanagement.

During the 1991-92 drought, there were serious food shortages in Zimbabwe which are usually not mentioned nowadays because at that time the 4 000 or so white settler farmers still monopolised prime farmland in the country. It was partly the majority Africans’ experience of that 1991-92 drought and food shortages which accelerated the African land reclamation movement between 1992 and 2000.

From that time onwards, the focus of Anglo-Saxon fright and terror became Zimbabwe. This focus was intensified and generalised beyond the issue of land reclamation because Zimbabwe also condemned and abandoned the IMF-World Bank-imposed structural adjustment programme (SAP) by the middle of 2001.

This is important because election manifestos of the two MDCs and Dr Simba Makoni centre around bringing back SAP, which would also directly or indirectly lead to a condemnation and ultimate reversal of Zimbabwe’s land revolution.

The method used by regime change forces to try to reverse land reform is to tighten sanctions against the country while blaming the effects of those sanctions solely on land reform, corruption and mismanagement.

So, on April 22 1999, The Financial Gazette published a long feature titled "Zimbabwe looks set to take the donkey path to oblivion". The "phrase donkey path to oblivion" was credited to a local stockbroking firm called Dataworld, one of the main local beneficiaries of the casino economy mentioned by the EIR editors in 1994. According to Dataworld Zimbabwe had in 1999 become a complete write-off.

On April 19 2000, the day after Zimbabwe’s 10th independence anniversary, The Daily News published a letter to the editor entitled "Train to oblivion travelling faster . . ." The writer was sympathetic to the white settlers, the IMF and the World Bank. He wished doom on the Africans led by Zanu-PF.

"The Zanu-PF gravy train is about to crash . . . the driver has his eyes tightly shut and the throttle wide open as he drives the train full speed up a dead-end track . . . Many VIP passengers wish they could get off . . . Very few, if any, survivors are expected."

In late 2000 Megabuck magazine and other neo-colonial papers adopted the New Labour line that the Government of Zimbabwe would be ousted unconstitutionally by Christmas. This claim was credited to the newly formed foreign-sponsored Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The Megabuck article was entitled "Zimbabwe Doomed" and it occupied the cover of the paper.

This constituted media terror because it announced doom for an entire people and it blamed that doom upon the liberation movement in government which was portrayed as an evil to be discarded without any regard for peaceful and constitutional means to get rid of it. That movement and government was certain to win any free and fair election for the foreseeable future.

So these media were, in fact, inviting the people to stage a coup d’etat and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai eventually said this out loud and clear, with fanfare from the usual Press.

And the point is that any nation which is described as doomed is a nation marked for extinction. So Megabuck was trying to prepare both the citizens of Zimbabwe and the outside world to accept what Zimbabwe’s enemies were wishing and planning against the nation: doom.

On February 21 2001 The Daily News put a date to Morgan Tsvangirai’s call to oust the liberation movement in government by violent means. It announced that this would happen by July 1 2001.

The next month, March 2001, Norman Reynolds put articles on the Internet and in South African papers which further sought to terrify and terrorise the people. He claimed that by July 2001 there would be no bread, no mealie-meal, no fuel, nothing in Zimbabwe. This would lead to the collapse of the country unless people overthrew the Government before such a collapse.

One of Reynolds’s articles appeared in The Daily News on December 12 2001. In it, Reynolds predicted "the blood of countless citizens on his [President Mugabe’s] hands as likely massacres take place in Harare or Bulawayo".

Reynolds continued his campaign into January 2002. He argued that Sadc armies should occupy Zimbabwe or at least conduct war games on Zimbabwe’s borders in order to influence the population to vote against Zanu-PF and elect the MDC in the 2002 presidential elections.

On January 18 2002, The Daily News published a front-page article called "South Africa braces for flood of Zimbabwean refugees." This was one of the pioneering propaganda pieces on Zimbabwe. Since that time there have been millions of them, especially on television.

Although African labour migrations into South Africa date back to the 1890s, the regime change forces have made them appear to have started only after land reform and as a result of land reform in Zimbabwe. In The Daily News story, a bit of drama was added by claiming that the South African government had already designated and prepared a disused military base to receive the flood of Zimbabweans.

In 2007 and 2008 the SABC and Al Jazeera stories began to count every African migrant to South Africa — Mozambican, Somali, Malawian, Zambian, Angolan — as a Zimbabwean fleeing the same "meltdown" which was reported as happening already in January 2002!

On January 31 2002, The Daily News followed its fake refugee flood story with a long letter from Toronto, Canada, to the editor, which was entitled "No caves to hide for the local Taliban". It equated the African liberation in government in Zimbabwe with the Taliban of Afghanistan and predicted that the UK and US would invade Zimbabwe to give back to white settlers the African land which the land movement had just reclaimed.

"One thing for sure is that Mugabe is having many a sleepless night. I can smell sweet victory in the air . . . whichever way Mugabe likes to look at it, 2002 is his last year as President." The opposition MDC and its Anglo-Saxon sponsors mistook the conjunctural protest vote of 2000 for a permanent trend in Zimbabwean politics.

So they worked hard to escort Zimbabwean and external public opinion towards an MDC victory in the presidential elections of 2002. Forged surveys were done by South African and British agents and published in the Financial Gazette and the Daily News to the effect that the MDC would receive 74-75 percent of the popular vote. This did not happen.

So when Zanu-PF won the presidential election, the MDC and its Anglo-Saxon principals went on a global propaganda rampage to demonise and discredit the result.

On April 23 2003, The Daily News published a front-page (top) story called "Young girls see their mother’s head cut off". Apparently, foreign intelligence agents helping the MDC to discredit the election had arranged for one George Nyadzayo Tadyanemhandu to pose as a victim of thugs sponsored by Zanu-PF, the party which had just won the March presidential elections.

He told the MDC and The Daily News that Zanu-PF thugs camped at Sanyati Bridge had beheaded his wife, Brandina Tadyanemhandu, in front of her own daughters aged 10 and 17. This was presented as a politically motivated execution.

Tadyanemhandu, the source, was booked into a hotel and probably paid a lot of money to tell his fake story. The police carried out investigations. There were no mourners in the Magunje area where the beheaded woman was to be buried.

There was no corpse, no fresh grave, no death certificate and no police report. The informer then vanished. It was later discovered that Brandina Tadyanemhandu had died of HIV/Aids in a different province altogether. The Daily News on April 30 and May 7 had to do two more stories to try to cover its tracks.

It claimed that the informer had been hired by State security to trap and discredit the newspaper. But it could not explain why its editor would publish such a provocative story without a police report, without a single mourner, without any second or third witness, without a corpse or grave and with no death certificate.

Reading the three issues of the paper for April 23, April 30 and May 7 2003, it seems clear that the story was carefully planted by skillful provocateurs who even provided a fall-back position in case the story was proven to be fake. Conveniently, the editor of the papers was already in Manila, Philippines, by the time it was proved conclusively that the story was a gigantic hoax!

The fake polls predicting a 74 percent victory for the MDC in the 2002 elections had been planned in the same way for the same purpose: to discredit President Mugabe’s convincing victory.

Then on July 15 2002, the fantasy turned away from military invasion and floods of refugees to shortages of everything. The Daily News published a cartoon which lined up tags of basic commodities which had run out completely according to Norman Reynolds’s articles. One European attached to an embassy in Harare hinted that Reynolds was part of an economic hit squad which had been given foreign currency by the EU to buy up basic commodities in Zimbabwe and externalise them and to intercept those being imported in order to trigger imminent starvation and collapse.

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